Reading around the newspapers we came across this letter in today's Mail on Sunday:
It was interesting to learn that there are several thousand people in the UK who still purport to view a black-and-white TV, and who pay £49 for a licence. How would TV Licensing officials know if you were actually watching another colour set in the house?
P. Winter, Filton, Gloucestershire.
As this letter appeared in a national newspaper, there is every chance that TV Licensing's PR harlots will see it and respond. They like nothing better than "setting the record straight" and preaching the gospel according to TV Licensing to a UK-wide audience.
As previously mentioned, TV Licensing has no way of distinguishing between colour and black & white (monochrome) TV receiving equipment apart from physically inspecting it. As TV Licensing goons have no automatic right of access to any property, the occupier could simply tell them to go away and thereby prevent any inspection from ever taking place.
In characteristic TV Licensing fashion, its response will no doubt tell only half the story and vastly exaggerate its ability to catch TV licence dodgers.
The response will probably be along the lines of:
- "TV Licensing catches more than 1,000 evaders a day" (but less than half are actually prosecuted);
- "We have technology that allows us to detect if a person is watching TV" (but its use is neither widespread or routine and it certainly cannot distinguish between colour and monochrome TV reception);
- "We have access to a database of 30 million addresses" (but so does anyone with web access);
- "Our 'officers' can visit a property at any time of the day to check that the occupier is only using black & white TV receiving equipment" (false, as TV Licensing visits only occur between certain hours of the day).
- "Anyone caught watching TV without a valid TV licence faces a criminal record and £1,000 fine" (but as TV licence evasion is a non-recordable offence, the conviction only appears on the court's own records and no-one is ever is ever fined anywhere near £1,000).
You can read more about how TV Licensing really checks up on black & white TV licence holders in our earlier post.
TV Licensing goons are required to "nab" the equivalent of one TV licence evader an hour, which we consider a pretty difficult target to achieve. They can also earn lucrative commission payments by selling TV licences to the occupiers of unlicensed properties. With basic terms of employment so wide open to abuse, it's little wonder that some goons try any trick in the book to get a result.
It's for that reason we discourage any sort of co-operation with TV Licensing, even by licence-holders fully within the rules.
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